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Finland

Environmental rules

Updated 12/2012

Legal requirements

The Environmental Protection Act requires business owners to be sufficiently aware of the environmental impacts and risks associated with their operations, and also of using the best available technology for reducing harmful emissions.

Under the Environmental Protection Act and Decree, certain activities require a licence. Such activities may not commence before the licence has been awarded for them. If a permit is required under both the Environmental Protection Act and the Water Act, one application is enough and one permit will be issued for the project.

Environmental control

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for environmental management.

Business owners and other stakeholders are obliged to comply with the following legislation:

Waste management

According to the Waste Disposal Act, waste means material or liquid, the owner of which has or intends to remove it from use, or is obliged to remove it from use.

Waste producers must be aware of the quality of waste. For example, an attempt should be made to demonstrate suitability for a landfill and to classify problematic waste separately.

Chemicals

A company may use or transport various chemicals in their operations. Chemicals may be harmful to the environment if not handled and stored properly. Companies must be aware of the dangers related to the chemicals in use, and are required to handle, store and transport chemicals safely.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is located in Helsinki, Finland. It implements the REACH Regulation.

Water

The national guidelines for water conservation are defined in the principled decision of the Council of State on the water conservation guidelines up to 2015 and in the conservation programme for the Baltic Sea in Finland. Water management is planned for each water management area.

Climate and air

The goal of air protection is air quality that safeguards a healthy, comfortable habitat and preserves nature's ability to function.

Noise abatement

Traffic (road, rail and air) is the most significant source of environmental noise. Reducing noise is necessary in workplaces for occupational health reasons. The goal of noise abatement is a healthy, comfortable, noise-free living environment.

Nuclear protection

There is information on radiation on websites such as, for example, the Ministry of the Environment.

Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.

Administrative procedures

Declaratory procedures

You must notify the environmental authorities of certain temporary operations. This applies to temporary noise and vibrations, test activities and exceptional situations causing environmental hazards.

When it receives a declaration, the environmental authority decides on whether to award a licence, and takes any related measures.

Waste management

Waste must be taken into consideration during product planning.

According to the Waste Act, arranging waste management is primarily the waste owner's obligation. The company's task is to identify, classify, store and send to an appropriate reception site any waste and problematic waste generated by its activities.

Permits and licences

All actions that may result in soil, water or atmospheric pollution, must be licensed with an environmental permit. Other projects requiring a permit include those related to water, those involving the launching of certain types of chemicals on the market and those involving waste transport. The environmental permit contains provisions including those relating to the quality of activities, emissions and reducing emissions.

Resources

The Ministry of the Environment website contains plenty of information on environmental issues.

The website includes environmental legislation and legal obligations, standards, permits and requirements.

Several tools have been developed for managing environmental matters of companies, including:

  • systems;                
  • eco-labels;                
  • lifespan assessments;                
  • risk and material flow analyses to help organisations deal with statutory and other environmental matters.

Enterprise Finland has a facility for companies' environment services.

Programmes

Finnvera's environment loan is a way of financing voluntary environmental investments. The project to be financed must be based on the best available technology. The positive environmental effects resulting from the investment must also be significant.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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